WORKING ABROAD / SEP. 26, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Move to the UK as an International Student

When embarking on the journey to become an international student, it is important to take into account the vast differences between the country you will be residing in and your own resident country. In order to be more successful in your transition to living in the UK as an international student, you need to do your research to get informed on what you can expect. This article will address steps and suggestions that will help you better acclimate to living in the UK as an international student.

Planning your Move to the UK

1. Planning is Important

If you haven’t taken the time to research and plan out your trip, you could be in for a wide variety of surprises. You need to ascertain the travel time between the airport and the university you will be attending. According to YourStudyAbroad.com, many UK universities offer travel assistance to international students “as well as subsidized transfer arrangements,” for those students traveling from abroad. Check out the online resources available through your university’s website and also contact their International Student Life Office to ascertain more details during your planning stage. During this initial process, you should also contact the UK Government website to find more details on immigration regulations and how to obtain a student visa in the UK.

2. Currency Exchange

This factor is another important step that should be taken care of during your planning stage. It is recommended that before you even begin traveling, you should exchange your funds for local currency. YourStudyAbroad.com also advised that obtaining a prepaid cash card is a good option since a majority of UK shops won’t accept £50 notes. For travel via bus, it is recommended to have no currency larger than £5. If you take the time to exchange your funds for local currency before you arrive in the UK, you will reduce some of the hassle dealing with such exchanges when in the country.

3. Acclimate to the Weather

In planning for your stay in the UK, it is also important that you ascertain the changes in weather that you will experience in the country and then pack accordingly. YourStudyAbroad.com suggests that you should pack a variety of types of clothing for your stay in the UK. The country has varying weather and many times is gloomy and rainy. However, the weather can change just as quickly, so you should be well prepared. Be certain that you check the weather in advance of your journey. You can check UkWeather.com for more details on up to the minute weather in the country.

4. Attend Orientation Meetings  

Universities offer orientation meetings and events for a reason, so that freshman can learn about the university campus and begin to better acclimate to the new environment. As an international student, it is especially important for you to attend the university’s “fresher’s week” so that you will learn the basics and get off to a good start. You’ll receive vital information about the university, campus and also the surrounding city where you may be living if you’re not residing in one of the dormitories. According to YourStudyAbroad.com, a majority of UK universities also offer a “fresher’s fair” which is generally held at the campus and showcases a wide variety of university clubs you may want to join. This can be a great way to get to know other students and expand your social network for both personal and professional career-minded reasons. According to YourStudyAbroad.com, students should get in contact with the National Union of Students or NUS “which will give you access to a huge number of discounts in over a hundred countries around the globe as well as local universities. You can also connect on their Facebook page.  

5. Driver’s License and Phone Number

The University of South Wales offers helpful information on their Immigration & International Student Advice webpage regarding driving in the UK. You can find out information on how to obtain a valid UK driver’s license, which countries have transferable licenses, insurance and vehicle registration details as well as downloadable license requirements. YourStudyAbroad.com also advised that it is wise to obtain a UK phone number. InternationalStudent.com has some helpful information on obtaining an international sim card for your current mobile phone which will help international students cut down on roaming costs and international calling expenses.

Moving to the UK as an international student can be a fun experience if you remember to follow certain steps as outlined in this article, which will help you to avoid hassles upon your arrival. Remember to plan ahead and obtain your student visa. Opt to exchange your funds for local currency before you arrive. Plan ahead for UK weather and pack the right clothing. Attend the “fresher’s week” and the fair so that you can get acclimated to the campus and local city. It is also important to understand the process for obtaining a valid UK driver’s license or transferring yours and also getting an international sim card for your mobile phone.

 

Photo Credit: africascholarships.com      

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